MLK on a Sacred Saturday

We were all different shades, shapes and sizes, yet we were the same in love, acceptance, and support.

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Over the past few weeks, you all have been able to view some of my inner most thoughts; and even learn some of the not so pleasant things about me as well (see Airing Out the Laundry). However, there are still some things that y’all don’t know about your girl. One of which is that I am a self-proclaimed extreme introvert. And I’m sure you’ve all seen my kind before. Perhaps by observing that very quiet co-worker who never goes to office parties, or even that family member, Little Johnny, who spends all day in his room, and must literally be bribed to show his face when guest come over? Yes, both would describe me perfectly. I like to be alone. Settled in my own space, far away from meddling people. Not that I don’t like people. The thought of hanging out with tons of friends and crowds of happy stranglers is exciting…yet, utterly terrifying at the same time. I often persist in an internal battle: aspiring to be a socialite princess, while simultaneously indulging my groundhog tendencies of stowing away, in my own little dwellings, resisting all communication with other life forms. But, to sustain somewhat of a productive life style, I accept that I must be around people, at least on most days.

pexels-photo-24105And so, I reserve my seclusion time for the weekends. In this sacred time, when I’m not working and Terrance is away (visiting with his beloved cousins), I retreat.  I bury myself in my room with a heavy blanket and a ton of books: happily drifting off into a world where I am the only one there. I look forward to Saturdays like this. So, naturally, when someone invites me to go out somewhere, I secretly interpret it as a direct threat against my happy time. Nine times out of ten, I say “no” or find clever methods to cowardly weasel my way out of going. The other ten percent of the time I force myself to just go– mainly out of guilt, but also to avoid being labeled as anti-social. Surprisingly, I often really do enjoy it when I go out on weekends. Time after time, I am reminded that communing with others is not so bad. The hard part is persuading myself to go in the first place. One of my many new year’s resolutions included making a real effort to get out more, and rid myself of my introverted ways. This is the reason I decided to go to an MLK event; which just so happened to have occurred on one of my sacred seclusion Saturdays.

I got a text from a friend Friday morning, inviting me to this event. I opened the message, and shortly afterwards began to take slow labored breathes, feeling signs of an acute panic attack coming on. “Hey Cheryl, I wanted to be sure you saw the MLK event…It would be great to see you”. No. No. No! I thought: going through my normal –or not so normal—routine of mental anguish. I can’t go… I want to go… I should go, but I want to stay home… I haven’t gone out in a while, oh my god, but why this weekend… I am not going! … And before I could change my mind again, I grab my phone and message back, “see you tomorrow.” So it was settled, I was going.

fb_img_1484421955707The Historic Roosevelt Center in Elkhart, Indiana, is an awesome pillar of the community. And Saturday, its facilities was used to house The Peoples History of Elkhart’s event: Reviving Dr. King’s Call for a Poor People’s Campaign. I must admit that, though I was interested in the topic, I wasn’t stoked about being in a crowd of people. I was a tad anxious up until I got inside of the auditorium. Then my entire mood changed. The experience brought me alive and I left feeling the way that I often do: wondering why I don’t get out more often in the first place. There was singing, there were awards and speeches, and most important, there was discussion about Martin Luther King, his legacy and how his life’s mission of gaining equality, peace and justice for all still stands today. I enjoyed the presentations, the conversations, and the comradery amongst the attendees: who all shared a common goal– to learn, understand and apply the knowledge gained from one another. We were all different shades, shapes and sizes, yet we were the same in love, acceptance, and support.

There, I was in my element. That extroverted socialite that I often dream about came out and took over. I talked, I laughed, and I met some amazing new people. I also in the process rekindled a need and desire to involve myself in more civic activism.

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Saturday, was a great day for me. So, from here forth, whenever I’m invited out to do something besides just lay in bed, I’ll think back on this lovely occasion, and then quickly reply, “yes, I would love to go!”

The purpose of this blog is to come from a place of love, strength, discovery and vulnerability. Please join me as I share my journey.

 

 

You Can’t Afford That

More than anything, I’m inspired to make some changes. I often rack my brain at night: thinking of ideas to make more and spend less.

Often times, the worst statements that can be said to anyone are those involving the words you and can’t. Honestly, I despise the two together. When someone tells me I “can’t do” something, it makes me turn into an enraged creature, much like the temperamental hero, The Hulk.

Luckily, not many people have witnessed my not-so-jolly, green giant. As a matter of fact, in most cases, my goals and aspirations are embraced and cheered on by many. This is usually the case–except when it comes to spending money. Apparently, I am not to be trusted in making good financial decisions.  I have been told many times before, by others, that I should not or could not purchase something because I “can’t afford it.” It infuriates me. Why?  Because they are usually right.

And so, because of persistent unsolicited advice—and constantly being broke, I am now programmed to tell myself, “don’t even think about it Cheryl, you can’t afford it,” in almost all purchasing situations. And these words don’t sound or feel any better coming from myself. I still get angry. And although I usually don’t throw a hissy fit, admittedly, I’ve grown weary of denying myself. It seems that as time goes by, and more and more things become even more expensive, I’ve been having to say, “You can’t afford it,” quite often. And boy I’ll tell you, it really sucks.

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And I’m not talking about wanting flashy things that light up and make elaborate sounds. No, I just want to have a washer and dryer in the home, or have the ability to choose a better-quality meat from the grocery store. These things I can’t afford, and so I’m left lugging massive baskets of dirty laundry to my sister’s and eating more off-brand Bologna than what’s good for me. I mean, to put things into better perspective for you all, having a fifteen-year-old car that barely gets me to work is a luxury in my life. Believe me, I try to be grateful every day for the little bit I do have, however, just getting by doesn’t always keep me content.

Although I have adapted to living without things, I still get frustrated because at the end of the day the less I have, the less my son has as well. There are no special nights out to the movies for him. Music lessons and sports teams are totally out of question. And most importantly, I can’t help but feel that since he is without these things, he’s losing opportunities and advantages that would otherwise improve his future. When it comes to my son lacking things, this is where I feel like a failure. We are a single-parent, low income family and it’s all mommy’s fault. But of course, my five-year-old doesn’t notice any of this. Although he hears,” no, we don’t have money for that!” quite often as well, he’s still as happy as can be with what he has. However, I know the older he gets, the more he’s going to notice. He’ll notice that his mom can’t buy things for him as much as other parents do for their kids. He’ll notice that we live from pay check to pay check. He’ll notice that mommy isn’t always able to pay the bills on time, and at times, I really struggle to make ends meet. This motivates me.

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More than anything, I’m inspired to make some changes. I often rack my brain at night: thinking of ideas to make more and spend less. Fear, doubt, and ironically the lack of funds has held me back from attempting to earn more, but now I know it’s imperative that I try harder anyway. All in all, I know I must stay positive and not give up. My future and my child’s future both depend upon the decisions I make every single day– from here forth.  So, I’m starting by making a budget, sticking to it, and putting my skills to work in every side hustle that I have the time and energy to run. I’ve realized that as a single parent working just my full-time, low wage job is not enough to get ahead in life. So here I go, venturing out into unknown territory: on a mission to bring wealth to my little family.

 The purpose of this blog is to come from a place of love, strength, discovery and vulnerability. Please join me as I share my journey.